I wrote another blog post last week Monday about how to talk (or not to talk) to someone in pain. I thought it was a good post, but Dave asked me not to post it for awhile. Probably because my experience is not yet complete, so neither is my advice.
The more about I thought about the comment that led me to write that post, the more I realized why I was so irritated. You see, someone told me how sorry they were my family was going through this trial.
I know this person meant well and it is not the first time I've heard those words. But from the beginning, they have struck both Dave and I as odd, for one reason.
We are not sorry we are going through this.
Are we sad? You bet.
Do we cry? Often.
Do we feel the pain of this burden? Every day.
Do we mourn for the life we thought we had? Absolutely.
Do we wish she didn't have to go through this? Of course.
Do we wonder or fear how life will be when we enter the empty space of "after" she is finished but before she is declared "cured?" All the time.
But we are never without hope, so we can never be sorry.
It is backward to say, much less think about. How can we have this perspective, how can we go through this and not curse God for the risk of losing our baby girl? How can we laugh and love and feel more deeply?
How in the world can we not be sorry we are in this position as parents?
It is a mystery to me sometimes. But to quote Job (2:10b):
Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?
It is the strangeness of the Savior we place our faith in. He is not all pretty and happy. He knows suffering. He knows pain. He knows death.
But yet, to those who believe in Him - He gives the most glorious perspective. As our pastor likes to say, "Death doesn't get the last word." Cancer, pain, heartache does not get the last word at the end of our day.
We have a beautiful children, a beautiful marriage, a wonderful house and a terrific community of family and friends around us. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of how good we have it. Shouldn't we seek to enjoy those things, even during this time of hardship?
That's the difference that Jesus has made in my life. I can't be sorry for this cancer because I have so much more - on Earth and waiting in Heaven. It is so incredibly humbling and emotional for me to write this to you. That is what real joy does to you - makes you a crying mess because your heart is just so full of gratitude for all The Lord has given you.
Real joy is perspective on what is really important and I hope this post helps somebody realize nothing is as bad as it seems.
I'm going to wrap it up with a statement from Helen Keller - from Joyce Rupp's book The Cup of Our Life. Rupp recounts how another woman asked her why she was so happy. Keller responded with this:
My child, it is because I live each day as if it were my last and life, with all its moments, is so full of glory.